Where does one begin, you know, when you haven’t written for a year or so. I don’t want this post to be too all over the place, so I’ll sweep away the missed year, and bring the majority of the focus to just this year, 2015. Rather than talk about the hum drum, and the ins and outs of my life beyond hair (and the last year adrift) I’ll hone it in to what we are all here for… or I’ll try at least. This post will bounce around a bit, just a forewarning.
January 2015 Hair Update
Hair update as of January of this year, I’d say my bio hair, with the continued PRP treatments, the cessation of my birth control pill in 2013 and Aldactone even before that, along with the short haircut I maintain (buzzed in the back, long in the front), that my emotional and actual hair place I was in, was at it’s all time best. I felt good about my situation, balancing wearing wigs, and also feeling quite comfortable in the short hair I’ve worn for quite sometime now. I tell people freely and openly that I am wearing a wig, if they previously saw me in my short hair and then see me in long hair and also the reverse. If they see me in a wig, and then see me in short hair, I let them know the other hair is in a box at home. Hair-wise everything was working in my life.
February – PRP Party
In February of this year, I had my 13th PRP session with Dr. Joseph Greco, but it was a bit different, I went with two very close friends whom I met through WHLP, and we made it a group girls trip PRP party. It was an amazing experience, and I did take video of the PRP being done on my girlfriends, which I do plan on posting (hopefully sooner rather than later). It was interesting for me to actually see the process being done, because my vantage point has always been quite limited before, considering I was in the chair having it done.
It’s somewhat important to take note, that I stated “hair-wise” everything was working. Oddly that was the only thing seemingly working. My experience with one psychiatrist, the one formerly mentioned in other posts, thew my life off the rails, and it all came crashing this year. The early part of this year was emotionally devastating and draining on a personal level, and while I don’t want to delve too deep, it is important to note this, for what comes next.
April/June – Shedding WTF?
On April 22nd I got on a new anti-depressant, the SNRI, Pristiq. I had gotten off Zoloft completely some months earlier, the side effects were a bit too much for my body to tolerate.
In the following months, May and June 2015.. shedding. Hair shedding, after hair shedding. Shedding like I haven’t had in FOREVER, not since starting my PRP. To complicate my already emotionally complicated life, now I’m thrown back into this mess. I thought I had that somewhat squared away. Guess not. Now confusion, what is the cause? Is it the Pristiq I just started taking, or is it the massive [massive] emotional stress I was under during the earlier months of the year? Impossible to know. I never really like dismissing hair loss under the umbrella of “stress” as many doctors seemed to like to do, but I do know that when the stress can be classified as “extreme” stress, it can certainly be a cause of hair shedding. In my situation, it definitely qualified as “extreme.” I didn’t experience any hair loss on Zoloft, but was it from stopping Zoloft? So many questions, and no way to really answer them.
I called Dr. Greco, who is always so amazing, to set up a very last minute appointment, and fly to Florida at a very not convenient time in my life, but I told my fiancé, I have to go and so I went at the end of June for my 14th session since 2009.
Before I continue I think it’s important to answer what may be a question that pops into many women’s heads. You wear a wig, have worn a wig full-time in the past, so if you are loosing your hair, why does it matter? Great question, because wigs were how I accepted my hair loss to begin with and I’ve mentioned that in previous postings, and if you asked me a couple years ago, it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, because I did wear wigs full time at many points in my life since I started wearing hair in 2012.
However, last year Sept 2014, I started getting involved in taking private lessons in kickboxing (real kickboxing) and JiuJitsu. JiuJitsu particularly has become a real love of mine and something I very much enjoy. It cannot be done wearing a wig. I’ve done weight training with a wig, I’ve run on a treadmill with a wig, I’ve take group circuit bootcamp classes ( Barry’s Bootcamp ) with a wig, but JiuJitsu cannot be done in a wig, not in my view anyways and not for me. So now, faced with this massive fallout, and realizing my former plan was just to shave it and switch to Follea grippers, if/when that time came, what would I do now? I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to the MMA gym with a shaved head, not considering I started there with just a short hair cut. How would I manage? Now I have to give this up? So hard to wrap my head around. Very hard. My fiancé told me like everything else I’ve run across I would be able to tackle it, but I definitely wasn’t hearing it at the time. I was getting depressed and I’m already on an anti-depressant, which god knows if it’s the cause of the shedding mess to begin with. Round and round we go.
Continuing on from that relevant tangent, I saw Dr. Greco, at the end of June. Something about PRP for me, not sure what it is, but the very next day my hair always feels and looks better. It’s not possible hair sprouted and grew over night, I know this, but it just makes my hair “look” better and fuller, which of course helps me to feel better. It was a very fast trip, there and back and I was relieved I went and optimistic about PRP’s ability to get me on track.
I certainly think my shedding has slowed from that PRP session, but the lost hair is still obvious in the morning, the extra thinness. It does wear on me a bit, but we will see what is to come.
March 2015 – Meeting With Follea
Yes, this is a bit out of order… so it follows right in line with the flow of my life this year 😉
Going back some months, I met with the owner of Follea, Daniel, and their new president, Chris.. in March. During the meeting, I brought up something I thought was currently missing in the hair world. Just a thought.. Ashy hair. My bio hair is ashy, so while I can blend it into my wigs, it still isn’t totally me, I’ve always had ashy hair, I just never actually knew it till I bought my first wig at Milano back in 2012. It was there they told me, after asking for something that matched, that none of the wigs off the shelf would be my color since I had very ashy hair.. they could be colored though. That’s the first time I heard of “ash.”
If you are confused about ash tone, you aren’t alone, you can read more about it here: http://thebeautydepartment.com/2013/10/hair-color-tone-talk-ashy/ and there it states “It’s the smoky-looking silver-y sort of color. That’s what tone is. Doesn’t matter if the hair is super light or super dark because it’s just about the hue that the hair gives off.” So hair color 101 here we go, after needing to wear wigs. It was a crash course in finding out nothing I ever found in wig-landia was offered from the factory, in “ash.” I’m of course referring to human hair wigs, I’m pretty sure synthetic wigs are offered in ash tones.
So, I mentioned this ash dilemma to the peeps at Follea… and they thought it was a good idea, and stated they would look towards this new project of developing ash tones. Something ashy like my hair tone, for me and women like me. I thought that sounded great and totally also thought they forgot about it. I was in my own world of dealing with having to work on “re-acceptance” of my hair loss in this new situation I found myself in.
July – Ring, Ring, Follea Hair Gods Calling… Hello
With still trying to deal/manage in my space, it turns out my words to Follea did not go unheard or ignored. I received a text message from their president Chris, that they had in fact made ash tone hair color samples, and wanted me to look at it to get my thoughts/opinion. It could not have seriously come at a better time. In the pits of my despair, the hair gods called. Hello… I’m listening.
I truly need to snap my personal life on track, I need to snap my hair life on track… and what better way to get that rolling. Ashy hair? My hair tone? I was cautiously optimistic. I met with Chris, and he showed me what they had made, what they made, was in my view nothing short of a miracle.. my hair color/tone, without even having a sample of my own hair, they did it. Snap, a miracle. I was beyond amazed.
I escaped to a mirror while Chris talked to my fiancé, and proceeded to get this girl on my head ASAP. Of course a wig out of a bag needs to be worked at bit (sometimes a lot) water.. blow dryer.. water.. blow dryer.. brush, and repeat, it takes a little bit of time. After a short (maybe long) period, I emerged in HER, and if I had one do over, it would be to have turned my iPhone video on to capture the look on my finance’s face. He’s seen me in the most gorgeous wigs, yes, but now he saw me in the hair he met me with. It was like a bug eye’d double take. So awesome. He said it was like the day he met me, and I have known him since nearly the beginning of my hair loss, 15 years ago.. I’m 16 years into my hair loss now.
To my knowledge, this is Follea’s first attempt at the ashy hair tones, so there is an unknown at this point, which is, how the “ash” will hold up to repeated washing. How will it look when it fades etc. Unchartered territory, but what they created was amazing. The first attempts at ash from dark colors to blondes, stunning.. That they listened to this “need” that I believe exists well beyond just my needs, lots of ashy born girls out there ya know.. is truly wonderful. I know they will be working on the final ash tone colors they will be offering at some point to best serve the ashy girls like myself… and I thank Follea for listening and caring.
I’m super excited to share with you some ashy Y. The first pic, is pretty much a duplicate match to my bio hair and the second pic is still ashy ( though the light isn’t giving it sufficient ash play.. and it looks like I had a filter on in the iPhone when I took the pic, love my filters, whoops LOL) but while its a tiny bit darker in color, it works so perfectly too. Both colors on me are amazing. Tone makes a huge difference.
I needed this. I needed this right now. I needed to be hair renewed/ life renewed.
Aug 1st – Reflection / Emotional Hair Management
So what about JiuJitsu? My fiancé has agreed I can turn our casita (large empty room detached from house) into a professionally matted gym and have my 2 instructors come to the house for my sessions, if I get to the point I have to shave my head, and no longer feel comfortable going to the gym like that. I have no issue with my trainers seeing me that way, at all. I’m close with both of them. It’s the idea of everyone else. At least at this time, who knows? I surprise myself all the time, I could get to the point I don’t care about going to the gym shaved head and all, and being like “Yup” and moving on. That could happen too, but for now, this provides me some peace of mind.. and a hair plan, which helps me be in an better emotional space.
So where am I today? Well, I am working it day by day. I have a new psychiatrist.. a sane one, and one that is much better equipped to not smash me into a million pieces. I have some great ashy hair the Follea gods created, to take a million selfies with and pet repeatedly. I have peace the hair shedding has ceased from the PRP, and hopefully it will fill in again.. thank you Dr. Greco, and I have mapped out the end plan.. if it all falls out, what I’ll do to make it work.
Hair loss has been such a long (and in some ways incredible) journey for me and a continued one. I started loosing my hair in 1999 when I was 21 years old. I started The Women’s Hair Loss Project in Aug 2007 when I was 29. I started wearing wigs in 2012, at 34, and I chopped my hair off into a very short cut in 2013, and in some ways it feels like I’m having to start over and find new acceptance now in 2015.
From 1999-2007, for 8 years. I lived in the deepest darkness and depression of my hair loss… feeling I was the only woman this was happening to. Feeling incredibly alone. Everything changed after I started this site, and started blogging. Anyone that has clicked on this site or wrote a comment, has been a part of HUGE change, not just for me, but for so many women out there like me. We aren’t alone, and there is hope. No matter where you are today, no matter what you feel today, there is hope tomorrow it can be better, in what ever way it comes, hair growth, wigs, acceptance… however it comes. It can be better. There is hope.
While hair loss took a lot from me, it has also given me so much, it’s afforded me the ability to meet the most amazing people, to help others… to make a difference. I could never trade the 2 best friends I have ( who I met through WHLP) or my fiancé for that matter ( who I met as a matter of accidental circumstance in dealing with my hair loss ) for a genie to offer to restore ALL my hair tomorrow… in ALL it’s glory. I couldn’t. So I have to work with this hand I’ve been dealt, I have to learn to live in the new me, not just the me of 2012, 2013, 2014 or Jan 2015, but the me of right now in this moment, and all that encompasses. I am trying to get better, change, evolve in more than just hair. It’s a life journey, and hair loss has been the most punishing teacher and the most giving teacher. I continue the journey.
Love to you all